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Malaysia Airlines launches AeroMobile trial

4th November 2008 - 18:02 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Malaysia Airlines has become the first carrier in Asia to offer the AeroMobile Inmarsat-supported onboard cellphone service.

The airline has launched a trial aboard a single Boeing 777-200 operating on regional and long-haul routes to Japan, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. Existing customers of Malaysia’s mobile phone operators are using their own BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones to send and receive emails and text messages, and to make and receive voice calls. They are billed by their own service providers in the normal way for international roaming calls.

“The trial is being conducted to gauge passenger behaviour and acceptability,” says Malaysia Airlines chief executive Dato Seri Idris Jala. “If the findings are positive, we aim to roll out the system in the remainder of our widebody fleet next year.”

Malaysian Airlines is the second carrier to trial AeroMobile. The first was Qantas of Australia, which completed an evaluation at the beginning of this year and plans to offer it on a full commercial basis across its domestic fleet. First to commit to the service was Emirates, which began rolling it out across its whole fleet in March. Also committed are new long-haul carrier V Australia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines, and AeroMobile says it is in negotiations with another three airlines.

In the Malaysia Airlines 777 the service is supported by an Inmarsat Swift 64 64kbit/sec terminal. It was installed along with the AeroMobile picocell and other equipment during a routine maintenance check and has been certificated by the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The Shephard News Team

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